Leaders of Sudan and South Sudan Agree to End Disputes

Posted October 9th, 2011 at 4:30 pm (UTC-5)
Leave a comment

HEAD: Leaders of Sudan and South Sudan Agree to Negotiations

DATE: 10/09/11

NUMBER: 1471238


South Sudan President Salva Kiir and Sudan President Omar al-Bashir say their countries are ready to negotiate solutions to the disputes that have bred fears of a return to civil war.

Mr. Kiir told reporters Sunday his government is ready to discuss solutions “to all outstanding issues.” Mr. Bashir said deadlines have been established, but he did not provide details. The two leaders said committees are being formed.

The news conference came at the end of Mr. Kiir's two-day visit to Khartoum. It was the South Sudanese president's first trip to the northern capital since his country declared independence July 9.

The rival neighbors are still disputing the future of the oil-rich border region of Abyei, claimed by both sides, as well as how to share the oil revenue that is the lifeline of both nations.

South Sudan has most of the oil production but needs Sudan's Red Sea export facilities.

Diplomats say the fact that the two leaders agreed to meet is a positive sign.

Khartoum and Juba have agreed to withdraw their forces from Abyei and allow a contingent of Ethiopian troops to be the sole military presence.

But the United Nations says armed forces from both countries have yet to leave, making the situation there very tense. Sudan said last week it would not pull out its forces until all 4,200 Ethiopian peacekeepers have arrived. Only half of them are currently stationed there.

Violence also has broken in recent months in Sudan's border states of Blue Nile and Southern Kordofan, where Sudanese soldiers are battling former rebels traditionally viewed as allies of South Sudan.